Skip to main content

tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  March 31, 2010 12:30pm-1:30pm EDT

12:30 pm
>> rose: welcome to the broadcast. we begin this eve fwhipg the controversy in the catholic church and reports of child abuse by priests and what did pope benedict xvi know about those reports? >> there is a very positive story to tell about this pope's record on the sex abuse crisis. these cases, however, and the slow and defensive way the vat kwan has responded to them have made that story very difficult to tell. long term i think what is happening is his moral authority to lead the church on the sex abuse crisis is now in question. that's the hard question the vatican is going to have to answer. >> rose: we turn from the church to science and extraordinary experiences taking place beneath the border of switt land and france which may tell us something about unanswered questions in physics.
12:31 pm
>> basic laws of physics, quantum mechanics, those should still apply. but the way they're put together could be different. it could be, for example,... there could even be new forces we discovered. there could be new particle wes discover so, of course, our laws don't apply to those yet because we don't know they exist. so it could be there's... >> "doesn't apply" is a bit strong but we may well see something beyond the scope of what we have. >> one of the interesting things about physics that i think people get confused about is we build on what's there. it's not like we're going to have to throw everything away. it's that we're going to understand more deeply what it is that created the stuff we now do understand. >> rose: looking at child abuse in the catholic church and understanding the physics of the universe when we continue. ♪
12:32 pm
if you've had a coke in the last 20 years, ( screams ) you've had a hand in giving college scholarships... and support to thousands of our nation's... most promising students. ♪ ( coca-cola 5-note mnemonic ) captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: we begin the catholic chunk and ins response to child sexual abuse and alleged coverup by catholic priests. it led to scrutiny and criticism of pope benedict xvi. questions have been raised about its handling of cases of alleged
12:33 pm
sexual abuse, first as archbishop of munich from 1977 to 1982 and then later as head of doctrine at the vatican. it's the first time the pope's knowledge has been called into question regarding cases of abuse in the church, addressing clouds in st. peter's square during a palm sunday service, the pope alluded to the controversy saying faith in god led towards the courage of not allowing ones self-to be intimidated by the petty gossip of dominant opinions. joining me to talk about these developments, john allen, jr. he's senior correspondent for "the national catholic reporter" and senior vatican analyst for cnn and npr. i'm pleased to have him on this day. tell me where we are and where you think this is going. >> i think we have to understand this at two levels. on the one hand, you've got a mushrooming sexual abuse crisis gripping the catholic church now in europe. first exploded in ireland. it's now sort of achieved massive proportions in germany. it's also beginning to open up in a number of other european
12:34 pm
countries-- austria, switzerland even some cases in italy itself. at that level it in some ways is early reminiscent of the scandal of the catholic church in the united states a decade ago in 2002, 2003. the new wrinkle this time is that the german crisis in particular has been linked directly to pope benedict xvi in the sense that what is now around microscope are his five years as the archbishop of munich from february '77 to may of '82. and then also his 25-year track record as a vatican official. so the question being asked is not merely about the church's corporate response to the crisis but also benedict's personal track record on this issue. >> rose: do you accept the explanation we've heard so far? >> well, it depends on what you mean by "accept." the explanation we have heard from vatican officials, there are really two cases under review. one is from one the future pope was the archbishop of munich, a
12:35 pm
priest came in from another diocese, had had accusations of sexual abuse against him in that diocese, was sent to munich for therapy. he then ended up in another parish where he went on to abuse other people and was criminally convicted in '86. the other case has to do with a priest in the archdiocese of milwaukee in the states, obviously in the '50s, '60s, and '70s. a god awful case in which this priest apparently abused some 200 deaf kids, the most vulnerable members of the population. that case was reported to the vatican in the mid-'90s and the vatican indicated... suggested, at least, that it was not appropriate to go to a full church trial to defrock this priest. in both of those cases what both the vatican and local church officials have said is that the future pope, then cardinal joseph rat zinger, was not intimately aware of the details of the case.
12:36 pm
he was not involved in the nitty-gritty of decision making. that may well be true. i've written two biographys of this man. i can tell you from my own experience that that this is a guy who lives the life of the mind. he's not a micromanagerer and has tended to leave it to others to make the trains run on times. so if you mean do i accept the version of events that the future pope didn't know the details, i'm willing to accept. that however, i'm not sure that really solves the problem because both of these cases ultimately did happen on his watch the buck stopped at his desk so i think ultimately he has to take responsibility for them. >> rose: what damage has it done to his papacy? >> charlie, i'll try to answer that in short term and long term perspectives. short term what it's done that it has made it almost impossible to tell the other story of pope benedict xvi on the sex abuse crisis.
12:37 pm
because if you look at his record, particularly after 2001, that was the year when john paul ii placed then-cardinal rat syncer in charge of the sex abuse mess, which is really the first time he had to come to terms with it in terms of the scope and magnitude and also the details of the case files. in n from 2001 forward, he has a pretty clear track record as a reformer. this is the first vatican official, whoever sort of kick started the wheels of justice against accused priests, this is the first pope to ever meet with victims, the first pope to embrace zero tolerance as the official policy of the church, the first pope to break the vatican's wall of silence. in other words, there is a positive story to tell about this pope's record on the sex abuse crisis. these cases, however, and the slow and defensive tway vatican has responded to them i think have made that story very difficult to tell. long term i think what is happening is that his moral authority to lead the church on
12:38 pm
the sex abuse crisis is now in question. that's the hard question the vatican is going to have to answer. >> rose: are they prepared to answer that? >> well, look, charlie, here's what's happened. ten years ago when this crisis erupted in the united states it was very difficult for catholics including particularly catholics in positions of power to openly admit failures on the part of the church. they had to learn in a sense a whole new vocabulary. now that vol cab lair to talk about what the church did wrong is in place. these days bishops will talk openly about the failures of the past, the need to learn lessons from that and all the ways in this which the church has chrend up its act. what they don't have a vocabulary for talking about what the pope himself may have gotten wrong. i think that's what they're going to have to learn. now, if the question is... is it
12:39 pm
possible for them to do that, i think so. if the question is is there much evidence so far that they're close to being able to do that, i would have to say no. because to date as you know the public statements from the vatican have taken the form of saying the pope didn't know anything about it and then blaming the media for raidsing the question in the first place. as a media insider i would be the first to concede that some of the positive aspects of the pope's record on this issue have not figured as prominently as they should have. iy whole op-ed piece for the "new york times" making that argument. at the same time, crisis management 101 tells us blaming the media doesn't cut it. i think what people are looking for and in particular what catholics around the world are looking for is the pope to take personal responsibility. to say, look, with the benefit of hind sight these couple cases were not handled the way they would be handled today. i'm heartsick about those
12:40 pm
failures and i'm more determined than anyone to learn the lessons from those failures so that we can redouble our commitment to getting this right. i think people would be willing to accept that, but that today-to-date is not what we've heard. >> rose: why won't they do that? >> well, i mean, if you want to ask why doesn't the vatican follow the same play book that secular government and corporations do in crisis management, we could be here all night. i think the truth is... >> rose: (laughs) >> they're on a learning curve on this issue. you know, there is a whole... there is more than 2,000 years of history of seeing the papacy as the church's last line of defense and therefore being extraordinarily reluctant to openly acknowledge things popes have gotten wrong. it often takes the church centuries to be able to bring itself to admit that popes in previous eras made mistakes in judgment. obviously all of that is being radically abbreviated by the
12:41 pm
dynamics of the this crisis. you know, i do think they will eventually get there. but whether it will be too little or too late, i think that's the open question at the moment. >> rose: the national catholic reporter, an editorial on friday called on benedict "directly answer questions in a credible forum about his role in the mismanagement of the clergy sex abuse crisis." that's the question, isn't it? >> yeah. i mean, look... and i frankly think if the pope were to say something like... you know, looking back at these couple cases that have recently come to life, it's obvious to me that whatever i knew at the time thfsz not properly handled. that these were tremendous failures that did real harm to real people and i am heartsick about them and i am determined to learn the lessons from them and let me tell you what i have done to date to try to turn this thing around. i think he would get a sympathetic hearing. certainly he would get a
12:42 pm
sympathetic hearing from the vast majority of catholics who want to think well of the pope. but that, of course, has not been the tone but until it is, my sense is that this story is going to continue to be a cancer that eats away at the moral authority of the church and popular perceptions of the church. >> rose: and what is it they per steve? that somebody's out to get them? >> well, yeah, i think that is the case. i think there is a feeling in the vatican and some senior levels of the church that there is a despair in the media that's perhaps aided and abetted by lawyers who sort of salivate at the deep pockets of the church to try to wound the pope, to try to drag the pope into this mess. the question is has some of the criticism of pope benedict xvi on the benefit of these two cases for his remote past, is some of the criticism unfair or hasn't done justice to the
12:43 pm
positive things he's tried to do i would say that's probably true. but i think the reality is that that kind of defensiveness and finger pointing and woe is me mentality is the last thing most people want to hear from the vatican at the moment and more to the point in the real world it doesn't do you any good in terms of an exit strategy. i think what people want to hear is the pope taking personal responsibility and saying, you know, i've got a 30-year track record of leadership? the church, prior to 2001, it is probably true that i didn't understand the full dimensions of this and looking back i probably did not handle a couple things as well as i would have liked to. again, i think he would find a sympathetic climate of opinion if that were the message. however, as long as the message is the media is out to get us, then i think that's a much tougher sell. >> rose: what did he mean by "petty gossip" in that palm sunday service sermon?
12:44 pm
>> well, look, pope benedict xvi is a figure who thinks in centuries. he's not crafting his homilys on the basis of today's headlines. so i would not read into that direct reference to the recent drum beat of criticism of him in the glebl media. palm sunday and beginning holy week leading us into good friday holy saturday and easter sunday is the peak moment of the liturgical year for the catholic church. i think he's trying to make a point that we need to think beyond the kind of mundane details of daily experience whether good or will and try to think bigger about what the meaning of christ's death and resurrection is from the point of view of the catholic faith. that's what i would take him to be saying. but, of course, the truth is that anything the pope says these days is obviously in the media, at least, going to be filtered through the lens of the sex abuse story.
12:45 pm
and, again, i want to say that i think it would be extraordinarily helpful if... not so much in his homily for easter sunday because that would be an inappropriate forum, but if some time in the not too distant future the pope two find a venue in which he can directly address the questions that have been raised and try to reassure people that, you know, he would be in the front line of taking it seriously. >> rose: can you imagine him granting an interview? >> well, it's not something that happens all the time. there the ordinary swim of experience, popes only meet the press when they were on the papal plane en route to a trip someplaces and those are carefully scripted and managed affairs. there are a couple of other occasions where this pope has sat down with the media. i remember he gave an interview to a group of german journalists ahead of his trip to bavaria a couple of years ago. but i think this obviously is not the normal swim of affairs.
12:46 pm
we are in extraordinary times. look, i mean, i don't think the pope needs to do one of those kind of geraldine ferraro interviews where he sits down with his tax returns for the last 30 years and goes through them at the level of agonizing detail. but i do think this might be a moment in which sitting down with a group of journalists who are prepared to ask him tough questions but give him the opportunity to give serious responses, you know, i think that would be extraordinarily helpful. it would be a departure from business as usual but if ever such a departure was called for, this would be such a moment. >> rose: what is it we ought to understand? you know more about him than most. what should we understand about this pope? >> i think there are a lot of things that would be helpful to understand about pope benedict xvi. but the first thing i would say, apropos of the story we're talking about, which is the sex abuse crisis, is this that at a personal level this pains him
12:47 pm
immensely. that is guy with a very high theology of the priesthood. a sense that a priest stands in traditional theological language in the person of christ and therefore a priest who is entrusted with that responsibility, who would soil it in such a profound way through the sexual abuse of a vulnerable minor child to him, that's a nightmare from which it is almost impossible to wake up. so i think the thing to understand is that however he may struggle to sort of acknowledge difficulties in his own record on this issue, he may not be willing to go as far in some of the proposed reforms, particularly when it comes to writing heard on bishops, as some of his critics would suggest. the idea he is in personal denial on this issue or doesn't take it seriously, that he's insensitive, that just doesn't track with the man i've come to
12:48 pm
know over the years. i mean, i think whatever else one wants to say about his record on this issue or his policy response i can tell you from my own experience of the man there's probably no experience on the planet... no person on the planet who would be personally pained to the damage that has been done to the moral standing of the priesthood and the church than pope benedict xvi. >> rose: john allen, jr., thank you so much. it's a pleasure to have you on this program and to benefit from your insight. thank you very much. >> you're welcome, charlie. >> rose: we'll be right back. stay with us. >> rose: the large hadron collider is the biggest scientific instrument ever constructed. it is located 300 feet beneath the board over france and switzerland. it's run by the european organizer for the nuclear research. the machine sends protons around 17-mile track at velocities approaching the speed of light,
12:49 pm
by smashing these particles into very tiny pieces, this is hoped to recreate the conditions of the universe fractions of a second after the big bang. here's a look at the collider from a report by steve kroft on "60 minutes" in 2008. >> the collider itself is a marvel of precision engineering. this animation shows how two beams of invisible hydrogen protons will be driven around the tunnel in opposite directions inside ultra high vacuum tubes propelled and guided by superconducting magnets chilled with liquid helium to a temperature of minus 271 degrees celsius. colder than deep space. as the two beams approach speeds of 186,000 miles per second, they will smash into each other at four different parts of the collider at the heart of the machine are four massive detectors where the actual collision of the subatomic particles takes place. this one is seven stories tall.
12:50 pm
nearly 8,000 tons of lead, steel wires, plastic and magnets. to capture and record everything going on inside. so you can bring these... you can raise these little... >> protons around this 17-mile track at the speed of light, smash them in together in a beam that's the width of a hair and you can measure all that stuff and what happens in a billionth of a second? >> billionth of a second after 25 nano seconds. so to set the scale, near there is 25 feet. i turn my flashlight on. by the team the beam reaches that wall is the time that we have to have recorded all this information. >> a 60 megapixel camera capture what is's going on at 40 million frames a second and the digital data detected by layers of sensors can be converted into pictures the human eye can understand. the information goes to superfast computers then out to
12:51 pm
laboratories and universities all over the world for analysis. there are so many sensors monitoring some so many collisions that in just one year the collider is expected to generate ten times more data than all of the information now on the internet. >> rose: there have been some setbacks, however, days after the collider was turned on in september, 2008, it was damage bade major explosion. this morning, the machine began colliding at high energy for the first time a year and a half. after seven trillion electron bolts, today's experiment sets a new world record. (applause) the new collider opens a new window of discovery and brings with patience knowledge of the universe and microcosm. it shows what one can do in bringing forward knowledge. it will bring out an army of children and young people who will go into the private second sector and academia. that is major step towards realizing the collider's potential but the machine is not
12:52 pm
expected to reach full energy for more than three years. last week we had a conversation about the possibilities of these experiments with lisa randall, she is a theoretical physicist at harvard university and the author of "warp passages: unraveling the mysteries of the universe." she's now writing her second book called "knocking on heaven's door:" and kyle cranmer, he's an experimental physicist and assistant professor at new york university. he's among the 10,000 scientists who have contributed to the large had ron collider project. i begin with the big picture. >> we're trying to understand what stuff is made out of. what is at its core and what are the forces that drive their interactions as the smallest possible energies. it seems complicated but we're trying to get to the point where matter is at its simplest what are the fundamental elements and how do they interact? what underlying the standard model, what we know about particle physics today. if you look back in our
12:53 pm
understanding of matter, you start with your table, you go and see it's made up of molecules and at toms. those atoms are aren't fundamental either, there's nuclei around them. and those nuclei aren't fundamental. but what's really important about that inner structure is that it's obeying... telling us completely new laws of physics we didn't know were driving things at bigger scales. we wouldn't have known about quantum mechanics unless we have studied the atom in detail. so we want to get to the point where we can understand what is it that underlying the particle wes know about today and what explains their propertys? what explains their masses, what explains the forces. >> rose: give me a couple definitions. one is particle physics. what is that? >> so particle physics we're trying to study the most elementary components of matter. the driving particle physics is a belief that at the core of matter, fundamental elementary particles and by understanding those particles you can
12:54 pm
understand everything that's made up of those particles. >> rose: what's a proton? >> a proton is a very complicated particle in some sense. it's not an elementary particle. a proton is a bound state. you have three corks which are... as far as we know are elementary but might have further substructure and they're bound together by something called the strong nuclear force. >> at the center of every hydrogen atom is a proton. so when you look at the periodic table and see the different elements, you're basically just katz gohrizing them by how many protons there are. and before people look at the periodic table, somehow the fundamental picture of what everything is made out of and while people think of particles as complicated, it turns out the periodic table looks baroque because for us we have six of one type of particle, six of one type of another and it's much simpler in terms of basic constituents. >> actually understanding what a proton is is important when we talk about a proton collider.
12:55 pm
a proton isn't a simple object. before the l.a.c., the accelerator center, they just collided together electronics and poztrons. those are both elementary particles. which meant you could do very precise measurements. they were relatively easy experiments in the sense you knew what was going in, you could study what came out. protons are big messy objects. you can accelerate them to higher energy. and the great thing about high energy but because protons are messy objects, that means collisionings are messy which is why it's so important to anticipate. >> rose: so all these magnets that are in there, what's that about? >> it's basically how you accelerate the particles and get them to bend around in a circle because it's basically a big circle, they would want to go straight, you use magnets to bend them. between the magnets there are other types of electronic
12:56 pm
devices and magnets. >> the interesting thing is that the real challenge for building the large hadron collider is in some sense keeping hit in the ring. the acceleration part is relatively straightforward. but the real challenge was they had a ring that was a thick size. they didn't have a choice. the tunnel was already built. and so the question is can you bend the proton as they go to higher they're harder and harder so you need a bigger and bigger magnetic field. one of the real challenges in building the large hadron collider was making magnets strong enough to keep these high energy protons in the ring as they got accelerated. >> rose: so they're going around. there's going to be intense heat and intense cold. >> to get to get magnets that are strong enough we had to get superconducting magnets and to do that you have to have it be cold. in addition there are issues about getting rid of heat, etc., so it's very cold. we use liquid helium a couple degrees above absolute zero. people consider... well, think probably the ring is the coldest
12:57 pm
extended object in the universe. it's colder than outer space. the the middle of outer space, colder than that. >> rose: and when they collide, what happens? >> that's where my job comes in. i don't work so much on the accelerator itself but on these very large particle detectors that we have. there are two general purpose particle detectors like the one i work on that are interested in the physics that lisa and i are interested in. then there are two others that do more specialized visits. but when they hit basically it's sort of the e equals m.c. squared from einstein. when they hit you can transform the particles that came in, these two protons, into something else. >> actually, usually what happens when two protons collide is nothing. they're just passing through each other. so actually only a small fraction of these protons really collide to give you something interesting. so one of the real challenges is to pull out the interesting events so you want the events where they collide head on.
12:58 pm
imagine if you had beanbags colliding. it's only when the actual beans collide that you're interested in the event. so in this case most of the time they just sort of go through and nothing interesting. so one of the challenges that theorists have is to say how do you tell the difference between an interesting event and a non-interesting event 130? so one of the reasons we have to anticipate is to say what are the things that are going to characterize something that indicates that you had some something new produced. >> because it turns out... so when they hit it turns basically a lot of particles fly out and it's just maybe over a hundred particles fly out, say, or sometimes even more. what we do is take a digital photo. like a three dimensional digital photo of these things flying out. your typical camera has maybe ten megapixels that you get at wal-mart or something. ours is maybe 300 million pixels and we're taking 40 million photos a second. so the amount of data we produce is just phenomenal and the
12:59 pm
things that are interesting are happening probably less than once a sect. so our first order of business separating the wheat from the chaff and going through these 40 million interactions a second and trying to find what might be the interesting ones. because we can't save into our data all of these events. they call it an event when they run into each other. so these collisions happen more often than we can deal with them and we save some small fraction. >> rose: all right. the big bang. what was that and when did it take place? >> the great thing about the big bang theory is that we understand a lot about it except for the big bang. we don't understand what banged. we don't understand the beginning. we understand what happened late in the evolution. we understand that we started off with a hot universe then it cooled down and as it cooled down it got bigger and cools down. and we have actual evidence the big bang theory is right. we see the hubble expansion of the universe, we see the radiation left over which is now quite cool even though it was
1:00 pm
very hot at early times. we have seen detailed distributions of nuclei. but we don't know what was there at the beginning. that's a question that we need to understand. >> rose: so everybody will be thrilled if we had an understanding of what happened after the big bang. what will it possibly maybe tell us about the big bang? >> the main thing >> it tells us what kind of forces and particles are the players so you can think of the moments after the big bang as somewhat of a play and we're not positive about who the players were. so we can potentially answer that question. but going back it might give us insight to answer this question of what the big bang is. >> it helps to think of science a bit more incrementally. we're going... as we do better
1:01 pm
collider experiences we get to shorter distances and higher temperatures so that allows to go back step by step into the early universe. so we're not going back right away but a step further. >> rose: so there's thing this thing called the standard model. what is that? >> that represents our understanding thus far of all of these fundamental particles we've been talking about and it's been wildly successful and, in fact, it's kind of been frustrating far lot of us because we test the standard model over and over in a variety of experiencements around the world, very difference nature and we've had a hard time breaking the standard model. >> someone told me it's never failed. is that right or snot >> that's basically right. >> and we're looking for new things but we're looking for deviations. we want to see it fail because that gives us clues for what's beyond the standard model. the fact we haven't seen deviations is frustrating and tells us what whatever is out ere.
1:02 pm
>> it's worth saying a little bit about the beauty of the whole thing because it turns out you think of everything being complicated but what we see in the standard model is that at these very small scales, these nice notions of symmetry, like the symmetry of a circle, really rein and in mathematics that's where you see mathematics playing this very impressive role somewhat's somewhat hard to believe mathematics could be so effective. we have predictions where sometimes we measure things to basically the most precise predictions in measurements in the history of science are related around the standard model. >> basically the standard model is telling us what the fundamental particles are and how they interact. what the forces are. and there's only a few forces that exist. so the fact that we have so few parameters but we can nonetheless explain all these difference processes tells us there's something very true there. we know it works.
1:03 pm
so it doesn't explain gravity any more than it explains the strong force. strong force is an assumption, part of a standard model. what's more mysterious is the relationship among the forces. why is gravity so much weaker than the other forces and that's something we'd like to understand. how >> and how the particles acquire mass. >> right. that's a major question. how elementary particle ace quire mass. >> so basically we've seen these particles, the most recent one was the top quark in around 1995. that was great and thaw n.o.w. there's one missing particle which is the singhs boson. >> rose: what is that? was it a person named higs? >> so what's really weird about the standard model is that naively if you just followed your... particles look like they don't have mass.
1:04 pm
but we know they have mass. particles have mass. so the question is where does this mass come from? so there has to be some additional ingredient that hasn't yet been seen that's part of the standard model that we haven't seen. and it's associated with something called the higgs megaisim in, named after peter higs. and somehow we believe that there's essentially a higgs field, a field that's something that permeate it is universe. and in some sense there's a mysterious charge throughout the universe that the barrels were all bouncing off and in some sense that's how they're acquiring their mass. >> rose: could this experiment taking place prove higgs right? >> absolutely. absolutely. i mean, i think that people really believed that the higgs... was right there. 's strong theoretical reasons. we know that these particles shouldn't have mass in some sense. we know that they do have mass and we know that if they had mass fundamentally it would lead to all sorts of nonsensical predictions. so this mechanism is a beautiful way of accommodating all these
1:05 pm
theoretical and experimental facts so we believe the higgs mechanism there. the fantastic something that if it's right, there should be experimental signature of it. there should be a remaining particle which is known as the higgs-boson. and that's a particle that we know a lot about its properties because we know about particle masses. so we know exactly what we... how we should look for this particle. >> rose: and this consideration is what drove the design of the... and justification for the large had ron collider which is basically that it's not its only goal. it has a lot of ambitions it's too try to observe and rule out if this higgs mechanism is somehow there, if we're going to see the higgs-boson. so that's been a lot of my work over the last-- i'm surprised to say-- ten years now that i've been working with the large had ron collider even though we're just now taking data which is preparing to search for the higgs-boson. >> someone has said that one of the powers of this machine is
1:06 pm
that it has abilities of precision. >> the best analogy of the whole machine is a huge microscope. what we're doing is looking at the smallest scales we probably can and normal microscope that you have on your table is not going to do the job and maybe you've heard or seen electron microscopes that look like small particle accelerateors. >> basically what's happening is these particles are flying out and they're flying out at the speed of light essentially and what you want to do is get as much information as you can. so you want to record as precisely as you can what was the track that those particles took, exactly what was the route exactly how much energetic's carrying. or what are its charges. as much as you can is you can piece together what was there. >> rose: tiny doesn't begin to describe the size of these particles. >> right and we don't need to think necessarily in those terms we can think about the mass of
1:07 pm
those particles. they're all basically traveling at the speed of light. but what we can talk about is the size at which we're nowing and it's 17 orders of magnitude smaller than a centimeter. that's the scale at which people are looking. supersupersymmetry, what is that. >> so we talked about the higgs megaisim in and higgs-boson. and i tell you that's a relatively sol solid piece of what we have. we believe the higgs-boson gives masses. but the question is why are these masses what they are? in fact, the embarrassing fact is that if you just put together everything we understand, including quantum managers and special relativity and try to predict what you'd expect the mass to be, you'd expect the masses to be higher. the masses look nothing like what you would naively predict. that's a good thing because it says there's something out there that's telling us why these masses are what they are.
1:08 pm
>> something really interesting out there. >> exactly. and that something interesting might be supersymmetry. it could be... it could with b that there are actually... there's a whole slew of other particles that are just waiting to be found. in fact, before we talk about supersymmetry, i should say that whatever it is that solves this problem is something that we should be able to see experimental evidence of. that's one of the reasons the large had ron collider is interesting. it's interesting to find the higgs but whatever it is that set this is mass scale could be even more interesting. supersymmetry is an example and that's an extension of the symmetry of space time. we thought we knew all the symmetries of space time. we have rotation, translations, time translation but this extends space time and relies on quantum mechanical properties to do that. so it would be fascinating if we were to find it. >> rose: what drew you to physics? >> (laughs) >> it's funny because what got me started doing physics was i like just solving problems.
1:09 pm
i like the game aspect of it, i like trying to figure out what's going on and the fact that there might be notions of having answers in progress going on. but you realize you are answering these questions about what's fundamentally there how did the universe become the way it is. so i think it's been an interesting evolution because i started off more from a mathematical game playing point of view. >> rose: at what point did you get interested in extra dimensions. >> rose: like i just said, whatever it is that solves the question of why masses what they are that's something we'll see. so supersymmetry was basically everybody's favorite idea and it is still many people's favorite idea. it's hard to make it work. you can... it has some properties that look great but if you put together it doesn't necessarily. this is the motivation to look for other ideas.
1:10 pm
and in the 1990s, people had new ideas related to string theory but they could exist independent about how extra dimensions might play a role in explaining some of these phenomenon. and a collaborator and i realized if you have some objects that can exist in these extra dimensions you have a very different explanation for why gravity is so weak. it's completely different from supersymmetry. it could be that... and this is xot us, but it could be that it's backward left, right, up down. but we could there could be mentions we don't see. and it could be gravity is concentrated elsewhere in another dimension. but if these dimensions exist, there is the potential for explaining not just the question of gravity but also equivalent question of what set this is mass scale. and the reason... this might sound so exotic abidea we wouldn't even think about it but
1:11 pm
the amazing thing is this idea is right. there are experimental consequences we can find. there are particles that have momentum because they travel in the extra dimension that we have the hope of observing. >> rose: so a whole bunch of theoretical physicists are saying this may very well give them evidence of what they have been speculating about throughout their professional career. >> that's right. we're model builders. we speculate about what we'll find when we probe this other energy and what the experiments tell us will be. it might be all our models are wrong, it might be some are wrong but we're hoping to anticipate what they'll find. >> rose: why did you go into physics? >> i think that... for me basically it's like that child who keeps asking why, right? you know, you ask why is the sky blue and then you just go down the rabbit hole. you end up in fundamental particle physics or cosmology or something like that.
1:12 pm
so in some sense a very easy to understand how i got there and from my trips on the airplane to geneva, lots of people have a similar draw which is the same thing that drove know physics. >> rose: mathematics gave you tools to understand the real world? >> it's the fundamental tool we use but ultimately it's an experimental science. so while we haven't had an l.h.c., we haven't been able to answer these questions. during thaez decades people have been coming up with all sorts of crazy models. >> rose: but maybe they're not crazy. one of the interesting things is having had the kind of time. i don't know that i would have worked on extra dimensions if we didn't have a long period of time where we had to think through what they seem to understand. >> they might not be so crazy but it could be that we're totally off base. and in the end it's an experiment going that's going to make that sort of... make that decision. >> one of the reasons having models is important is precisely the point we brought up earlier. that these experiments are difficult. so by making models, you anticipate what it is that's
1:13 pm
interesting. what are the things you should be looking for. >> you don't go around randomly looking for things. >> it tells you what are the properties that characterize the interest in physics that can underlie the standard model. >> rose: what question do you want answered? >> that's a good question. i think for me it's interesting because you look out and lisa has one of the... one of the most compelling ideas out there on the market but there are several and when you talk to different people, everyone's going to convince you of their... from the theoretical community convince you of their take on what's going to happen. >> i think we just want to make sure you that you look for everything that's possible. >> that's true but there are a few people that are... >> you mean for theoretical physics you want to make sure the experimental physics look for everything. >> they look for everything that could be interesting. >> i agree with. that that's the crux of the problem that s that to look for one specific thing, like the higgs go son is exactly what you're looking for, it's
1:14 pm
something i spent time in and i invested probably five, six years for serious preparation for looking for the higgs and then you have another theory add model and there's lots of models and so there's this fundamental question and if we get into the question of about big science, it's one of the interesting aspects. there's so many interesting questions and time it takes and the resours involve for answering is hard. so we have a strategical question about how we organize our work and how we communicate between the two different... >> but there's a important point people don't appreciate. it's not like telescope time where you say i have to point at this particular direction. when these experiments happen, those particles collide and stuff comes out. so whatever theory you think it is, you've done the experiment. so it's a question of analyzing the data. could it conform this idea? so you're looking at the
1:15 pm
interesting phenomenon that happens but you're not directing the experiment toits look for it. it's just a question of do you analyze the data to figure out what's right. >> rose: there's also this idea for both of you. >> it's not going to shed light on black holes that you think about floating around in space. basically it might probe this idea where gravity and quantum mechanics start to meet. >> it's important to say that you only have a chance of making black holes if ideas about extra dimensions are right. >> rose: oh! so >> so it's only if you talk about extra mentions that you begin to think about that. >> rose: so you clearly believe in black holes. >> it's interesting because post-doc at the time, we did some calculations. it turns out that the l.a.c. doesn't even... even in those scenario it is l.h.c. can't make black holes. >> so anybody who's worried about a black hole being created swallowing up the earth... >> that goes beyond that.
1:16 pm
even if we could make black holes. but they're not going to swallow up the earth and the reason is that there's not property of black holes which is that they decay. they don't last forever. small black holes-- the only ones you can make are small because you don't have enormous energy, they're small. so they would decay. >> rose: i read the l.. will. willh.c. will take physics into the time where the current reigning theories don't apply. does that make sense in >> it depends what you mean by that. in the sents that basic laws of physics, quantum mechanics, those should still apply. >> right. >> but the way they're put together could be different. it could be, for example, there could even be new forces that we discovered there could be new particle wes discover so our laws don't apply because we don't know they exist. >> doesn't apply is a bit strong but we may well see something beyond the scope of what we have. >> in fact, one of the
1:17 pm
interesting things about physics that people get confused about is that we build on what's there. it's not like we have to throw everything away. just that we understand more deeply what created the you have to we do understand. >> rose: so it could isolate a dark matter part. >> this is an amazing coincidence. but if you have a theory that explain this is mass scale and it has a stable particle in it, whatever model you have, if there is a stable particle, you can calculate how much of that should be around in the universe today. just based on the big bank theory and the fact that the universe hoob cooling down, etc. it turns out it has just about the right amount to beat the dark matter. so what that tells you is that there is a chance that you could produce whatever it is that is the dark matter particle. >> the one thing that isn't clear first, what is dark matter right?
1:18 pm
>> rose: what is dark matter? >> well, it's something we don't know exactly what it is, first of all. >> but there's a lot of evidence from for instance looking out at space at how galaxies rotate or various other pieces of evidence that say there's something else there. so you look at galaxy rotating and it doesn't work. if you look at the stars, it's not rotating like it should. >> there's also real evidence which is very cool, so even though dark matter is dark, you could have a light object behind it, something that emits light behind it and einstein taught us that dense objects will actually make light bend. so you see evidence the light is bending even though you don't see anything there because it's dark you see images of dark matter. >> einstein taught us that light bends. >> it bends in the presence of gravity. >> rose: there's this other thing called the theory of
1:19 pm
everything and it came up when i was interviewing walter isaacson on his book. what's the theory of everything? >> (laughs) >> rose: because einstein was fascinated about it. was he not? >> it's interesting. the single force, the single equation, people would love to have that. what's interesting about the had ron is we're working very differently. we're working incrementally. we're saying we can't answer that because it's many organisms. even if it happens it's happening at energies far distant from anything we're going access. >> rose: so we'll never know. >> so let's first understand what we can understand experimentally. let's understand the large... there could be a unified theory. there might well be one. but there's also a lot of challenges to get from that theory who whatever it is we see here. so by understanding more about that will give us insight into this unified theory but right now we're trying to think. >> rose: do you or do you not believe there's a unified nearly. >> this is a bad answer but i'm
1:20 pm
not sure and in some sense it doesn't matter because the kind of things we're thinking about... >>. >> rose: speak for yourself. (laughs) it does matter. >> but in ter of the kinds of things we can answer experimentally. we'd like to see what's there and how can we extrapolate it. so there's a hauj extrapolation required to go from whatever it is we can observe to the question of whether there's unified theory. thinking about it gives us insights into what's possible butitis a very different sort of question. >> rose: define success. from the... >> for the l.h. sdplvplt that's a good question. well, i think... >> finding anything new is success. >> i mean, if we see the higgs, that will be great. >> rose: if you see it? >> if we discover it. if we see supersymmetry that will be enormous success.
1:21 pm
if we start to see evidence of extra mentions that will be enormous success. >> i'd go beyond that. it doesn't have to be anything we anticipated. really if we see something new that ice the success... >> and we're almost guaranteed to see something. >> that will eventually tell us what it is. we'll be able to put it together. >> the thing that's hard to tell is that some people say one of the most interesting things is if we see nothing because that would somehow point to the fact that we're thinking about things in the wrong way and in that sense it's a big message. but from a funding perspective it's certainly a much harder point. >> the other thing about that is that the l.h.c. is getting to higher energy but there are some things just around the corner that are higher in energy. so seeing nothing could mean we haven't gotten the amount of energy we needed. doesn't mean a big deep thing. >> rose: so when they mapped the human genome they told us we're just beginning to understand.
1:22 pm
after we have the culmination and we look atta data we're just beginning to understand or where l all the questions be answered? >> it depends on what we sigh, i think. >> for better or worse, you'll have a lot more or not, i sghesz >> in some scenarios it may take quite a while for us to sort it out. >> physics and biology are in very different stages. in the case of physics we're building on a theory we understand pretty well. we're building on the standard model and going beyond it. but we're just at some random intermediary energy. we know this is interesting energy because it's energy associated with particles acquiring mass but it's neither the smallest nor the highest. in the case of a t human genome, that was the first time this kind of thing was happening and people don't know what are the right questions yet in biology in all cases. so think we are in very different stages. i think they're both very interesting stages and i don't think either one of us are going to know all the answers at the end of it. >> rose: the theory was at the
1:23 pm
end of the 20th century going into the 21st century biology just went running past physics in terms of results, consequences, primacy, everything. >> rose: biology did go running past physics in terms of data. >> rose: so this can be the great chance for physics to catch up? >> it's different. in biology >> it's hard to compare them. i mean, we've had a good run in physics and the... but i don't think that it's... i mean, biology is also... you know, we've known about d.n.a. for quite a while, of course the human genome is adding an enormous amount of data to that and hopes to unlock mysteries. then there's genetics where you already know that's not the full story. so... in terms of physics it's very different. we have a framework we really trust and there are a few very deep questions. it looks like we may shed some
1:24 pm
fundamental insight >> in physics we're trying to identify the simplest elements and identify the simplest forces. in biology it's very likely they will be basically these feedback mechanisms that you're not... even when you have to simplest elements you won't necessarily know what the rules are. so the kinds of questions you're asking are very different. >> rose: thank you. great to have you. >> thank you. >> rose: palm beach pleasure. thank you for joining us. see you next time.
1:25 pm
captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org ♪
1:26 pm
♪ if you've had a coke in the last 20 years, ( screams ) you've had a hand in giving college scholarships... and support to thousands of our nation's... most promising students. ♪ ( coca-cola 5-note mnemonic )
1:27 pm
1:28 pm
1:29 pm

91 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on